tisdag 10 februari 2009

First day at Toolik Lake

We made it to Toolik, so right now me and Tobbe have been dropped in the middle of nowhere in northern Alaska (actually the latitude is just 68deg, which is close to the latitude of Kiruna, but it feels more remote!). The drive up here took 10 hours, but was ok, since the landscape was beautiful (we crossed the Brooky Mountains, saw some moose and raindeer on the way) and our driver Joe played really good music! =)

Our truck, loaded with boxes, cameras, computers.. as well as two excited scientists!

We stopped at Yukon River for a short break, before we got up to the higher mountain passes. Up here no trees are growing, and there are mountains in the distance.. It reminds me a bit about Svalbard, but perhaps just because the wind really aches in my face when going out in -35 deg C! One nice change though is that we don't have to bring a rifle when we go out! Here are some more photos from our drive:

The Alaskan pipeline, that brings down oil from the north coast of Alaska. It's more than 1000 km long!

The view along the road was spectacular, even if it wasn't a very clear day. Too bad it got dark in the end, but the full moon was up, throwing a spooky light on the mountains.

So, today was the first day here, and we were busy trying to set up the guppy cameras, placing the portable observatory outside and trying to pull cables in through windows, without cooling down the whole building. Toolik field station is actually really big, in the summer time they sometimes host more than 120 people here! Right now it's just me and Tobbe though... and 4 station staff. So most buildings are closed. But it's a really nice place to be, it's warm and cosy, there's lots and lots of snacks and drinks available at any time and we have a nice lounge to ourselves, with video/DVD, computers, coffee machine etc.. We'll have no problems surviving here! The toilet is in a shed outside, but at least it is heated!

Toolik Lake Field Station

The staff told us before coming here that there's normally not that much snow here, so skiing could be hard, but we're glad we brought our skis, since this year it's been snowing lots, as you can see below! Tobbe was happy, as he immediately found a pile of snow to play in! We even had to ask Scott to remove some of the snow for us, so it wouldn't block the field of view of the cameras!

The king of the snow pile!

One of my concerns before coming here was that I wouldn't be able to do any sports, but I couldn't be more wrong! I didn't realise snow-basketball is a big sport in northern Alaska! Hm, but perhaps I'll stick to skiing instead... the surroundings are made for daytrips, so I'm longing to get the time to go out!

..and all we have to do is to dig out the ball!

We turned one of the bedrooms into our control room, and within seconds it was filled with bubble wrap, cables, computers and other stuff that just seemed to come from nowhere and wanted to join in in the general mess! After pulling cables through the window we had to seal it properly, as you can see on the photo.

Toolik groundbase control station

After dinner the guys had heated the sauna for us, so we finished the day by sitting in a hot sauna, and then running out in -35 to cool for a while (hm, wonder what the body really thinks about a quick temperature change of about 100 degC...)! My other big concern about Toolik was the restriction of only 1 shower per week, but we were allowed to have proper bucket showers in the sauna, so I think I'll make it into a habit, to use the sauna often.. it's so great to heat up properly too!

Our wood heated sauna, just next to a frozen Toolik Lake

Inga kommentarer:

Skicka en kommentar